Preakness Week lifts off

May 10, 2007|By Sam Sessa | Sam Sessa,Sun Reporter

From parades and fun runs to free zydeco performances, this week's Preakness Celebration includes a number of regional pre-race events.

Festivities start at 6 p.m. tomorrow, with a free performance by the Crawdaddies, a local funk/zydeco group, at Belvedere Square. The three-hour show is at the corner of York Road and Belvedere Avenue.

"We're very excited," said Crawdaddies guitarist Chris Huntington. "Preakness is a tradition around here, and it's nice to be a part of it."

At 9 a.m. Saturday, runners will head to Pimlico Race Course for the Preakness 5k. The race starts and finishes at the race course. Registration is $35. Call 410-308- 1870 or go to charmcityrun.com.

Also Saturday, the Preakness parade starts at 11 a.m. at Howard and Conway streets, heads north to Pratt Street and marches east to Market Place. The parade includes military honor guards, floats, balloon figures and marching bands. Ice skater Dorothy Hamill, who won a gold medal at the 1976 Olympics, will be the grand marshal.

At 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, children will bounce across Federal Hill Park on Hippity Hops as part of the Pee Wee Preakness. The annual Preakness Frog Hop is at noon Wednesday at War Memorial Plaza in front of City Hall. Entrants usually bring their own amphibian, though several bring extras. The frog that jumps the farthest in three hops wins.

Get a peek at the inner workings of the Preakness 6 a.m.-9 a.m. Wednesday through May 18. There will be guided stable-area tours, discussions with racing experts and a look at the morning workouts. Free.

Power Plant Live at 34 Market Place hosts two free concerts as part of its Miller Lite Nites series. Rock group Papa Roach plays May 17 and local rock favorites Mr. Green- genes perform May 18. Both shows are 21 and older and start at 8 p.m.

Local celebrities will sponsor crabs in the annual Preakness Crab Derby May 17. The event, which raises money for charity, is held at Lexington Market, 400 W. Lexington St. For more information, call 410-685-6169 or go to lexingtonmarket.com.

On May 18, about 25 hot-air balloon operators will stay grounded but will light their burners to illuminate the city waterfront as part of the Dusk Balloon Glow. They'll lift off from Oregon Ridge Park at 6:30 a.m. the next day, weather permitting. The park is at 13401 Beaver Dam Road in Cockeysville.

Celebrity jockeys will be at Pimlico to sign autographs at 10:45 a.m. May 18. Experts will offer insights and advice at the Daily Racing Form's Handicapping Seminar at 11:30 a.m. For more information, call 410-542-9400 or go to preakness.com.

At 6 p.m. May 18, the Crawdaddies will open for party act Buckwheat Zydeco at Lancaster Street and South Central Avenue in Harbor East. The event, called "Twas the Night Before Preakness," is free. Fireworks will explode over the waterfront when the show ends about 9:15 p.m.

Huntington of the Crawdaddies said they've played with Buckwheat before and admire the way he blends zydeco with more modern musical styles.

"He's pretty well known as not sticking with traditional zydeco - thinking outside the box with his music," Huntington said. "The Crawdaddies are all about that. We try not to be anything traditional. We fit really well together."

The infield and facility gates open at 8 a.m. May 19 for the 132nd Preakness Stakes. The first race is at 10:30 a.m. For tickets, call 410-542-9400 or go to preak nesscelebration.org.

sam.sessa@baltsun.com

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